Getting Salt Out of Carpets

BIG-winter-snow-trees-HIGH-small-It has been a long winter with Norfolk snowfall estimates for the month of January at more than 600% over last year.

Where there is snow and ice, there is ice melt and road salt … and “tracked-in” disaster for your carpet.

It is estimated that this winter Norfolk used over 400 tons of road salt and sand while Virginia Beach topped out at a whopping 2,000 tons plus!

According to the VA Dept. of Transportation, dry sodium chloride is the state’s primary  snow-removal and ice-control chemical.  Combine that with sand and other ice-melt products used on sidewalks, and you can have quite a maintenance job on your hands in removing it from your facility.

Because of the chemical nature of road salt, you might be encountering some difficulties in removing it from carpeted areas.  Even if you do not see the unsightly, crusty white debris, there may be small salt particles embedded in the carpet fibers.

The carpet extraction products you normally use may not be removing all the salt residue.  That is because unlike most carpet spills and stains which lean toward the more acid end of the pH range, road salt is just the opposite with a higher alkaline content.

To be effective in removing an alkaline agent, you need to clean with a more acidic pH cleaner. So, if you have been treating salt residue areas with a typical pre-conditioning agent and not getting the desired results, it could be because you are using your “default” pre-conditioner, which is probably alkaline.

Cleanfax Magazine offers this convenient pH chart for the best pH cleaners to use for certain soil removal:

Type of cleaner pH range Soils
Mineral-acid cleaner 0-2 Heavy oxide scales
Mild acid 2-5.5 Inorganic salts, water soluble metal complexes
Neutral 5.5-8.5 Light oils, small particles
Mild alkaline 8.5-11 Oils, particulates, film
Alkaline 11.5-12.5 Oils, fats, proteins
Highly alkaline 12.5-14 Heavy grease/soils


Need some extra guidance on choosing the best products to remove road salt?  Give the Cavalier cleaning experts a call at 888.569.0066 or 757.855.6091.